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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
The life work of William Wilberforce Edgerton has in various aspects been of great benefit to the city of Chillicothe, in which he makes his home. One of the foremost financial men of the city, he exerts as president of the Citizens National Bank of Chillicothe a potent influence upon the commercial growth of the city and its general upbuilding. He was also active for many years before coming to Chillicothe as a practicing physician and as a merchant. He was born August 4, 1845, near Lima, Ohio, a son of John Leffingwell and Delia (Doud) Edgerton. The father was born in Pawlet, Vermont, December 2, 1797, and was reared in Vermont and New York. He was well and favorably known as a teacher and lecturer. On March 1, 1812, he enlisted for service in the war with England as a member of Captain Alexander McKenzie's command at Moriah, New York, and served valiantly for the preservation of his country. He was a republican in politics and died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on July 3, 1870. He was married February 4, 1832, to Miss Delia Doud, who was born at New Haven, Vermont, May 27, 1812. and was reared in that state. She passed away at Sparta, Wisconsin, in 1868. The paternal grandfather of our subject was Jedediah Edgerton, who was a native of Norwich, Connecticut, born in 1762, and his wife's maiden name was Lucy Curtis. He was reared and spent his life in Connecticut and Vermont and followed the occupation of farming. His religion was that of the Congregational denomination and he was one of the heroes of the Revolutionary war, enlisting from Pawlet, Vermont, and serving with the rank of captain during the conflict. He passed away in New York state in 1848. The father of Mrs. Delia (Doud) Edgerton was Silas Loud, who was born in 1773 at New Haven, Vermont, and was reared in that state, where he subsequently followed the occupation of farming. He also was a Congregationalist. He was prominent in his locality, having for several terms served in the state legislature. His death occurred in the town of New Haven, Vermont, in 1826. He was married in 1791 to Miss Irena Scovil, who was born in August, 1770, in Meriden, Connecticut, was reared in Connecticut and Vermont, was married in New Haven, the latter state, and passed away at the age of about one hundred years in 1870. Mrs. Delia (Doud) Edgerton, the mother of our subject, was one of ten children born unto her parents, the others being: Betsey, who was born in 1793 and died in 1835; Laura, born in 1795, who passed away in 1881; Silas, who was born in 1797 and died in 1867; Hiram, who was born in 1799 and died in 1820; Amy, who was born in 1801 and died in infancy; Osmund, who was born in 1803 and died in 1865; Sylvester, who was born in 1806; Adeline, born in 1809; and Rozalia, born in 1815, Mr. and Mrs. John Leffingwell Edgerton, who were married at New Haven, Vermont, had four children: Harriet Augusta Tenney, who was born in 1834 and died in 1898; Martha Irena Newton, born in 1838, who passed away in 1901; William W., the subject of this review; and John Howard, who was born in 1850 and makes his home in Sulphur Springs, Arkansas.
William W. Edgerton was reared at home and attended school in Waverly, New York. In the spring of 1872 he graduated from Bush Medical College of Chicago, Illinois, with the degree of M. D., and in April of that year removed to Wheeling, Livingston county, Missouri, where he engaged in practice, For nine years he followed his profession in that city and built up an extensive clientage during that time. He was subsequently engaged for eight years in the general merchandise business and his efforts in that direction were attended by success. In August, 1889, he came to Chillicothe, Missouri. With experienced eye he immediately recognized the necessity of a banking institution in this city and was active in the organization of the Citizens National Bank, of which he has since served as an officer continuously, acting as cashier for eight years and subsequently filling the office of vice president, being later elected to the presidency. He has guided the policies of the bank with great circumspection and has been instrumental in making this institution one of the foremost in this section of the country. Under his able management the resources of the bank have increased wonderfully and the foremost individuals and many of the important enterprises of the city do business with his institution or are depositors.
On April 1, 1876, Mr. Edgerton was married at Wheeling, Missouri, to Miss Elizabeth Davis, who was born August 11, 1853, in Dunkirk, New York. They were the parents of three children: Ethel, who was born in Wheeling in 1882 and graduated in 1900 from the Chillicothe high school, subsequently attending Stephens College at Columbia, Missouri, and who in 1907 married Edgar O. Welch, residing in Chillicothe; and Leah and Lillian, twins, born in 1884, both of whom died the same year. Mr. and Mrs. Edgar O. Welch have three children: Edgerton, born July 3, 1908; Owsley, born December 3, 1910; and Catharine Elizabeth, born September 29, 1912.
Mr. Edgerton is a republican in his political views and has always taken an active interest in all matters pertaining to the public welfare. He has been honored with election to the mayor's chair and during his administration has brought about many important improvements which have greatly benefited the city. He is a veteran of the Civil war, receiving a government pension. In the spring of 1862 he enlisted for service in Company A, One Hundred and Seventh New York Volunteer Infantry and served in the ranks for three years, being discharged in June, 1865, at the close of the war. He is a member of the Masonic order. In whichever capacity one may review the life work of Mr. Edgerton it has always been one of usefulness and service and he has attained success not only as physician, healing the sick and helping the suffering, but also as a merchant and financier, and his labors wherever exerted have resulted in benefit to mankind.